Another very busy week. I don't know if I have said much about what we do in the Mission office. We help with the mission finances. There are over 80 apartments that the Missionaries live in. We help pay the rent, water, and electricity each month. We have to make sure everyone gets paid. We do most of it on line. The missionaries are real helpful and have shown us a lot. Every day brings us joy as we have a chance to serve.
Besides the office stuff we also help with apartment repairs. In Uruguay, a renter provides their own water heater, stove, frig, light fixtures and everything else. If the toilet or a faucet breaks, we need to fix it. Also, there are no screens on the windows so if you don't want the mosquitoes to get you at night we need to put screens up. We have been instructed to do that for the apartments that still don't have them. We did three on Saturday and have about 80 more to go.
The other day we bought some canned beans, at least we thought they were beans. Turns out it was canned celery. YUM! It tastes just like you would think. Nothing. We ate them and told ourselves that we were going to like it. I did have to chase it down with some dulce de leche. That's just like medicine.
We had transfers last week also. The new missionaries come in on Tuesday and stay until Wednesday for training. On Wednesday they are paired up with their new companions. It kind of reminded me of when you have to "mother up" the calves after a cattle drive. There was a lot of bawling from the young ones. One Wednesday the missionaries that are going home start to arrive and are treated to a session at the Temple and dinner with the mission president and his wife. We helped move missionaries around and do the meals. It is "three continuous days, just like the Ute Stampede"! Those that know my dad will appreciate that one.
One of the new missionaries asked how the food was. I told him, "Elder, I brought my own cook." Sometimes you just need to tell it like it is.
The mission President asked us to help a struggling branch in Castillos. This is a town about the size of Blackfoot about 4 hours north of Montevideo. We stayed in the town of La Paloma which is about an hour away because they have a good Hotel. I should say it is better than good. It is as good as any Hotel we have ever stayed in. One interesting thing. When you enter the room you have to put the "card" you use to enter the room in a slot so the electricity will turn on. That's kind of interesting.
We left on Friday and came home this afternoon, Sunday. We were able to meet several families. The Branch President has only been a member for 4 years. He is quite young. He and his wife have a little boy, Thomas, named after President Monson. They were told that they could not have children, but through prayer and much faith, they now have a son. This little branch needs more members. Today there were 14 people in Church. The Branch President is young and does not have any counselors or clerks. The Elders Quorum President hardly ever comes. In spite of the small attendance, it was amazing to feel the strength of the members. They bore very strong testimonies and were willing to do whatever they could.
I gave my first talk in Spanish about the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood. It went better than I expected. Renee also gave a prayer. We are both learning.
Some have bad feelings but this is what I feel. I remember when I was in Salta, Argentina over 40 years ago. There were two little branches about like this one. Well today there is more than a Stake in Salta and it has its own mission. I am sure that this little branch is going to grow into a ward and then a stake. Its going to grow with the missionaries and members that are here now or it is going to grow with some others, but it is going to grow. We need to decide whether we are going to be a part of it. We had such a great feeling there and we are sure that we will feel other great things as we go back each month to help.